Wondering what will be my tips for Hemkund Yatra – here are few based on my personal experience…
- Time to visit: Yatra opens every year on 25th May and it is closed for public on 10th October. Best time to visit is before the monsoon season begins as there is fear of landsliding (although my personal favorite time to visit hills has always been monsoon season as the beauty of hills is accentuated with rains). You can also go to certain websites such as http://www.sikhtourism.com/hemkund.htm for more information
- Even in June (which is peak summer), it is freezing cold at the main shrine as well as in Govind Dham. Please carry enough woolens – cap, socks, warm inner wears, jackets all are a must
- Carry an extra bag in which you can pack things for trek as well as for overnight stay at Govind Dham.
- Important things to carry with you while trekking: Rain-coat, First-aid Kit, Wind-cheater, Water-Bottle, Sweater, Torch (at Gobind Dham the supply of electricity is only till 10:00 p.m. So torch is very necessary), lock and key, extra pair of clothes as you can experience sudden downpours in the area
- Book your rooms at Joshimath well in advance as during peak season you will not get rooms
- No matter by which mode of transport you are travelling, ensure you reach the trek start point before 2.30 PM else you will not be allowed to visit that day
- There are enough ATMs at Joshimath so no need to worry for cash – However, for the onward yatra to the main shrine carry enough cash
- Again like all hill stations, be prepared to walk a lot – carry a good pair of walking shoes as well as back support belt (in case you have a back ache)
- Although during trekking, you will see lot of ”free health shivirs'”, it is good to carry some medicines or OTC drungs
- In case you plan to visit Valley of Flowers on the way back from the main shrine – please do contact your travel agent and book the camps in advance as last minute booking might not get confirmed
- Budget estimation: If there is no shortage of time, you could go by train from Delhi to Haridwar (which should not cost you more than INR 800 per ticket). From Haridwar to Rishikesh and from Rishikesh to Joshimath, you get lot of cabs (again if you go for sharing basis, these cabs can be as cheap as INR 1000 per person). You can halt at Joshimath for a night in any budget hotel and start the onward journey to Govind Ghat next day morning. From Joshimath to Govind Ghat, you get cabs on sharing basis. Govind Ghat to Govind Dham can be on foot. In case you hire a pithoo or a pony, they will charge around INR 4000 one way. Stay at Govind Dham is also not expensive. On the whole, if you want a budget travel, it can all be covered within a budget of INR 20000 per person but if you want a luxurious travel, you can go for good hotels in Rishikesh and Joshimath. Instead of train, you can go for flight from Delhi to Dehardun and instead of trekking you can go for helicopter from Govind Ghat to Govind Dham. With all these options, your budget can go upto INR 50,000 per person.
To read my memoirs and the whole travel experience – do visit my page – Yatra to Hemkund Sahib!